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Asher v Whitlock (1865)

Facts

  • Williamson, a squatter on the unregistered land of a Lord, built a cottage which housed himself, his wife (widowed) and their daughter
  • Williamson died, leaving the land upon which the cottage was built to his widow until she remarried, then his daughter
  • His widow remarried, but his daughter did not take possession
  • The re-married wife and daughter died at a similar time
  • Both the daughter’s descendant and the wife’s husband claimed possession of the land

Issue

  • Who had the right to possession?

Decision

  • The daughter’s descendant

Reasoning

  • The Lord (not relevant to the case) could have claimed possession at any time within 20 years of the start of Williamson’s squatting (adverse possession)
  • An earlier title will take priority over a later title
  • As the daughter’s descendant’s title originated before that of the wife’s husband (on the death of Williamson as opposed to the start of the new husband’s occupation), the descendant’s title took priority
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